Clariant mulls $1.5B Masterbatches sale to PolyOne

Clariant AG is in talks to sell its masterbatch unit to U.S. specialty materials maker PolyOne Corp., according to a report by Bloomberg.

Clariant has been seeking about $1.5 billion for its Masterbatches business, which makes colorants and optical brighteners for polymers, according to the report. While discussions with PolyOne are the most advanced, the sale has also attracted interest from other companies as well as private equity firms, the report added.

Like other chemical manufacturers from Europe, Clariant has been grappling with a slowdown in some of its markets including the automotive industry. That’s made it more difficult for Clariant to settle on terms of a deal for the Masterbatches business, given the uncertainty over how much earnings will be hit, the people said.

No final decisions have been made, and there’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a transaction, the report said.

Acquiring Masterbatches would make PolyOne, based outside Cleveland, a world leader in supplying color concentrates for plastics.

The potential sale of Masterbatches is an indication that given strained relations with its anchor shareholder, Saudi Basic Industries Corp., Clariant Chairman Hariolf Kottmann is moving forward with a strategy overhaul. Sabic’s choice for the Swiss company’s chief executive, Ernesto Occhiello, resigned in July after nine months in the position of talks on a plastics joint venture between the two unraveled firms.